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Syria announces first presidential candidate

English.news.cn   2014-04-23 21:08:53

DAMASCUS, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian parliament announced on Wednesday the name of the first candidate who registered for the presidential elections, the official SANA news agency reported.

Maher Hajjar, a Syrian parliamentarian, was the first to submit application for the presidential elections. Registration for the June 3 election started on Tuesday.

Hajjar submitted his application to the Supreme Constitutional Court, which is tasked with overseeing the presidential elections.

Hajjar was born in Aleppo in 1968, hailing from a family well- known in religious teaching.

He obtained a diploma in Linguistic Studies from Aleppo University before he joined the Syrian Communist Party in 1984. He seceded from the party in 2000 and formed a temporary leadership for Aleppo's communists.

In 2003, he formed, along with many communist leaders, the " National Committee for the Unity of Syrian Communists" and was one of its leaders until it changed its name to the "Popular Will Party," when he became the secretary of the party's Council.

He ran and failed in the 2007 People's Assembly elections and officially opposed the results.

During the crisis he ran again for the parliamentary elections in 2012 for Aleppo city within the list of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation and won and came second in the number of votes for independent candidates.

Meanwhile, the media spokesman of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Majed al-Khadra, told reporters at the court that only Hajjar has so far submitted an application to run for the presidential elections.

The timing of the presidential polls has raised the ire of the Syrian opposition and their regional and international backers, who have labeled the upcoming poll a "parody of democracy."

Government officials say President Bashar al-Assad is the "real guarantee" for the future of Syria, hinting that Assad would run for the elections, despite a barrage of criticism, and has a high chance to be re-elected for a third seven-year term.

Opposition groups inside and outside Syria have criticized the decision to hold the presidential elections amidst the current civil war in the country, which has killed more than 150,000 people and displaced one third of its population in a grinding war between government troops and armed militant groups.

They also stressed that millions of Syrians are displaced in neighboring countries, many of whom don't have access to basic necessities, let alone access to polling stations.

Assad himself, whose second term will expire on July 17, has not yet announced whether he will run for re-election, but he has reportedly expressed interest in running.

Voting for Syrians inside the country will start on June 3, while overseas Syrians will cast their vote on May 28.

Assad was unanimously nominated by the Syrian parliament to be president in 2000, following the death of his father, former President Hafez Assad. He was re-elected without opposition in 2007.


Editor: Shen Qing
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